NFL player Dion Dawkins didn’t know if he was ‘going to make it’ after COVID battle

Dawkins returned to training camp after being removed from the Bills' sidelined-by-COVID list.

An offensive lineman for the Buffalo Bills, Dion Dawkins, is speaking out about his battle with COVID-19, one in which he spent four days in the hospital and says he lost at least 12 pounds. 

“I don’t want to scare anybody, but there were moments where I was like, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to make this,'” Dawkins said at a press conference Tuesday, a concerned look etched across his face. “I was down bad, where I could barely move, and I was hurting.”

Buffalo Bills player Dion Dawkins watches the end of a late November game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Bills Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

“Life,” he added, “can be over before you know it.” 

When he fell ill, Dawkins had received his second dose of a COVID vaccine, but that dose was less than 14 days after he contracted the virus, and therefore, he was not considered fully vaccinated. 

“And regardless of what you made in life and what you did, you’ve got to keep stepping, and just do what’s right because you never know what life will bring,” Dawkins said. 

He returned to training camp this week for the first time after being removed from his team’s sidelined-by-COVID list. Head coach Sean McDermott said Dawkins is “not close to where he needs to be to play and help us.” He added that the Bills are taking things one day at a time with Dawkins, saying, “He’s got a long road here.” 

Dawkins also noted that his battle with the virus left him emotionally challenged, saying that he didn’t know his “mind could get to the low it could get to.” 

The Journal of the American Medical Association released a study earlier this year saying that 30% of patients who sought treatment at the emergency department, most of whom required hospitalization and eventually recovered, were diagnosed with PTSD or generalized anxiety disorder. 

A 2017 second-round draft pick, Dawkins has started in every single regular-season game with his team for the past three seasons. 

Bills writer Ryan Talbot saluted Dawkins’s openness on Twitter, calling the press conference a “must watch,” and writing “Kudos to Dion Dawkins for not holding anything back at his presser today. From sharing information about his hospitalization, saying how bad things got, etc., Dawkins was an open book.” 

After the press conference, a fan page for the team wrote, “If not already, Dion Dawkins will go down as a legend in Buffalo and across the world.” 

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